Gift cards are not ‘security cards’

By Greg Collier

We have long said that if someone is asked to use a gift card for anything besides a gift, it is almost assuredly a scam. Once a scam victim buys a gift card and gives the scammer the card number, that money is immediately lost to the scammer. We can’t stress this enough that no legitimate company or agency will ever ask for payment of a debt or service in gift cards. As more consumers become aware of gift card scams, scammers have to adapt their tactics in order to fool their victims.

Lately, there has been a rise in the Amazon impersonation scam. This is where scammers send out emails or text messages that look like they’ve come from Amazon. The messages say that an expensive item was fraudulently purchased through the victim’s Amazon account. The messages include a fake customer service number to call. Once the victim calls the fake customer service number, they leave themselves open for a number of scams.

For example, a woman in Colorado recently fell victim to this scam. She says she received a call from someone posing as an Amazon agent. The victim was told that in order to prevent her account from being hacked that she needed to buy a ‘security card’ from a local retailer. She was informed that both Apple and Google have these kinds of cards. However, security cards aren’t really a thing, and these were just gift cards. After she gave the card numbers to the scammer, the scammer continued to hound the victim for more money, promising that the next payment would definitely secure the victim’s Amazon account.

If you receive a message or call from someone claiming to be from Amazon and there’s fraudulent activity on your account, don’t just take their word for it. Before taking any action given by the message, check your Amazon account for any fraudulent activity. If there isn’t any, then you can disregard any instructions you received as being part of a scam. And just because a scammer calls something a ‘security card’ doesn’t make it so.